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Twins eye arms, catching depth with 5 Top 100 picks

With first overall selection at 15, Minnesota changing recent approach
June 4, 2016

The 2016 Draft will take place from today through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and today at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on and broadcast on

The 2016 Draft will take place from today through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and today at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on and broadcast on MLB Network.'s exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at noon on Saturday.'s coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
After having a selection within the first six picks of the Draft in each of the past four years, the Twins have to wait until the middle of the first round for their first pick this year, after finishing last season with a winning record for the first time since 2011. But they do have four selections within the first 74 picks, gaining an extra one because they didn't sign 2015 No. 73 overall pick Kyle Cody.
"We've got quite a few picks in the Top 100, that's for sure," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "So we're very anxious to start that process. We're putting our priority list together, tying up medicals, looking at signability and all that stuff."
Complete 2016 Draft coverage
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Twins, whose first selection is the No. 15 overall pick.
In about 50 words
The Twins have their latest first-round pick since 2011, but with five selections within the first 93 picks of the Draft, they have a chance to stockpile even more talent to a farm system that's still considered one of the best in the Majors, despite the promotions of top prospects such as Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler.

The scoop
The Twins are likely to go with a pitcher with their first pick for the second year in a row, and for the third time in the past four years. But if none of the high school arms they like are on the board, they could go with an outfielder such as Alex Kirilloff of Plum High School in Pittsburgh. They've targeted power arms in recent Drafts, and that's also expected to continue. There's more uncertainly on who they'll take in the first round this year, given their Draft position, but the organization is excited about having so many early picks.
"It's different, because in the past four years or so, we knew who were probably going to get," Ryan said. "Last year, we were sixth, and it was just a matter of having six guys picked out, knowing we'd get one of them. You can't do that at No. 15, but our people have that Draft board pretty well-maneuvered right now."
First-round buzz
The Twins have mostly been linked to high school pitchers such as right-handers Forrest Whitley and Matt Manning and lefties Braxton Garrett and Kyle Muller. Manning, though, carries some signability concerns. Minnesota doesn't seem as enamored by college arms, but Boston College's Justin Dunn and Illinois' Cody Sedlock will at least be considered. Louisville's Zack Burdi, the hard-throwing younger brother of Twins prospect Nick Burdi, also could get a look, but most mock drafts have him being selected later in the first round. The wild card is Kirilloff, as Minnesota was impressed by him in a recent workout; if he's available, the club could decide to go with an outfielder instead of a pitcher in the first round.
Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
The Twins have $2.82 million available for their first pick and $1.41 million for their second pick. They also have $8.15 million total for their first 10 picks, which ranks as the 12th highest in the Majors.
Shopping list
Minnesota will look to add more high-velocity pitchers to its system, but the club also doesn't have much catching depth in the lower levels, which means it could draft a catcher early. Ryan, though, said the organization has a policy of drafting the best player available rather than picking based on need.

Trend watch
The Twins have shifted from their philosophy of taking soft-tossing strike throwers, as they've loaded up on power arms in recent years. They've also been active in Puerto Rico, taking three players from there within their first 16 selections last season. And of course, right-hander Jose Berrios, their No. 1 prospect who was taken in the first round of the 2012 Draft, also hails from Puerto Rico.
Recent Draft history
Rising fast
Berrios, the No. 15 overall prospect according to, made his highly anticipated Major League debut this season, but he posted a 10.20 ERA in four starts and was sent back to Triple-A Rochester to work on his command. Berrios, though, is expected to rejoin the rotation at some point this season, and he just turned 22 on May 27.
Right-hander Kohl Stewart, the No. 4 overall pick in 2013, is in the midst of a breakout year and was recently promoted to Double-A Chattanooga.
Cinderella story
Reliever Michael Tonkin, who has been a pleasant surprise in the bullpen this year, was a 30th-round selection in the 2008 Draft. And lefty reliever Taylor Rogers was an 11th-rounder in 2012.
In The Show
Buxton, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012, was recently called up by Minnesota again after an impressive stint at Triple-A Rochester and is currently the club's everyday center fielder. He entered the season as's No. 2 overall prospect.
The Twins' recent top picks
2015: Tyler Jay, LHP, Class A Advanced Fort Myers
2014: Nick Gordon, SS, Class A Advanced Fort Myers
2013: Stewart, RHP, Double-A Chattanooga
2012: Buxton, OF, Twins
2011: Levi Michael, 2B, Double-A Chattanooga

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](** and listen to his podcast.